Press Release
January 11, 2021

Highlights of the interpellation of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Committee of the Whole hearing

SPSC: Do I assume that when we speak of agreements that are being entered into by LGUs and private sectors, those are all tripartite agreements? Because I've never heard that answer, that's why I think there's so much confusion.

Sec. Vince Dizon said as early as November 2020, PRRD approved the participation of both the private sector and the LGUs in the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, but these need to be done through a tripartite agreement with the national government and vaccine manufacturers.

SPSC: On that note, as our colleagues expressed a lot of confusion on the part of LGUs, I think that has to also be very clear because some may know that the procurement requirement, as Sec. Galvez pointed out, limits their ability to make these advanced payments or procurements. But others are just confused that they don't know if they should join the bandwagon, or wait upon the national government to wait for their allocation, which is the point I was driving at earlier when I said that on the point of financing, what is the plan?


SPSC: A few days ago, Moody's made a statement that the Philippines will be the last to recover in the region. One of the reasons cited is that the Philippines lags behind in the procurement process of the vaccines. Why is that the impression that they have? And what can we do to correct it na parang iwan na iwan tayo sa procurement?

We should all be negotiating on the same footing... Why are we in this situation where an independent body tells us, "Kayo ang pinaka-huli"?

Sec. Galvez said he disagrees with Moody's statement, stressing some countries may have gotten vaccines early because they had the upfront money. He said the law also prohibits them from procuring faster.

SPSC: Hindi ba mula pa sa Bayanihan 1, which I am a principal sponsor of, and Bayanihan 2, we already put there exemptions from the procurement law, so I am just trying to understand, because it is our job to help you. I understand the limitations of LGUs, kaya nga tanong ng LGUs, "Kami ba pwede rin mag-avail sa exemptions sa procurement law," at sabi natin hindi... Kaya nga kailangan makipag-tripartite agreement. National government lang ang pwede mag-avail...

It's the impression, and I don't know if we can correct the impression, and baka nga it's really true na nahuhuli tayo... Ang sabi niyo it's because of the procurement law, but we've exempted you from that.

I just feel that we could try to improve that image... Ang pangit lang for the heart and soul of the Filipinos to feel na huling huli tayo. I think we can all understand that.


SPSC: Why do [LGUs] need to help? Kulang ba pondo natin? Why do the LGUs need to help? Obviously, every LGU head would want to ensure their people that they'll take care of you. But ano bang assurance na meron silang matatanggap sa national [government]? Were they told that they would allocate a certain amount, and then bahala na kayo sa rest?

I just need to be clear on that because why, baka kayo magkaroon ng maraming duplications. If you say we covered all the frontliners, but then ang alam ng LGUs, clear ba sa kanila na all their frontliners from their barangay health worker, to the doctors would be covered? Would that include the private? Hindi ba sila kasama sa frontliner? Kasama di ba? So do we differentiate if public or private?

The main concern here is confusion. It could be a major waste of resources, very valuable resources. The LGUs are providing for their private health frontliners, yun pala ginagawa n'yo rin; yun pala ang ospital, ginagawa din niya. So how do we really clear this? That is really something that I feel needs clarity.

I chaired the committee on the budget of health, so it was never brought to my attention that we have an issue on funding. But if we keep projecting that image na, "Salamat tumutulong kayo." Of course whole-of-nation, whole-of-society. But nagkukulang ba tayo sa funding? Let's make that clear.

Usec. Joven said we will meet our targets for 2021 to inoculate more than 50M Filipinos, but there is also no liability to ask for help of LGUs and the private sector to further augment the figure.

SPSC: So then let's communicate that very clearly. Not many people know what exactly is in the GAA. P72.5 Billion diba? Nandyan yan. So now, let's make it very clear sa LGUs kung magkano pa ang gusto niyong bunuin because like you said, willing naman sila, pati private sector. But let's make it clear, because we don't want confusion, we don't want people worrying about duplications...

The worry is yung maliliit na LGUs, yung hindi kasing yaman ng Metro Manila LGUs, hindi ngayon nila malaman na, "Teka, anong gagawin namin, uutang ba kami dito, suspend ko ba ang program ko para maglabas ng pera?" Hindi very clear yun, so that's what my point is.


SPSC: My next point is on the rollouts... What is really crucial here in this rollout is from the time you procure it and the time it arrives... My understanding is these internationally procured vaccines are delivered using the resources of Zuellig and then they deliver it to the RITM, tama ba?

Sec. Duque said we have third-party logistics, depending on cold chain temperature requirements.

SPSC: When it comes to requirements ng Pfizer [vaccines] na negative 70 degrees, even [Zuellig], the most reliable partner that we probably have, will still have to purchase at this point. Those are the agreements I want to ask if they have been secured.

Meron nang may alam nitong kailangan gawin, are we using them? Are we finalizing deals with them? I do know that there are other cold storage providers, but they are not really in the business of pharmaceuticals... It's your job to review everybody, but I would prefer that it would be somebody who knows their business when it comes to vaccines.

Sec. Dizon confirmed that the vaccine cluster is in discussions with Zuellig to provide logistical services for the transportation of vaccines.

SPSC: What I am told is, most of these multinational pharmaceuticals deal with Zuellig because they do not want to risk their products being ruined... Imagine pati Germany, one of the countries we look up to in many ways, they have the delivery to northern or southern provinces that they had to throw away kasi hindi nasundan, hindi na-secure ang temperature requirement.

My point simply is, kung may magaling na diyan, gamitin.


SPSC: This is my point. Dito sa rollout, the administration of the COVID vaccine is like the biggest ever live show that DOH and the national government will present to the Filipino people... Ito na yung pinakamagaling na live show, pinakamaganda dapat.

This is not a pre-taped show. This does not have cuts, this does not have timeouts, warm ups, bukas ulit, wala. Live show ito. No take two. And the only way that they can perfect that show is practice, practice, practice, and dress rehearsal... I really want to emphasize that you need to roll the dress rehearsal itself. Roll out a pneumococcal vaccine, roll it out from the masterlist... You have to roll it out that way and test it, and test your stress points, what are your stress points? The stress points would obviously be the storage, the transportation, the timing. And you know what? The masterlist... Inabot tayo ng Bayanihan 2 hindi pa rin mabuo-buo yung SAP. And then ngayon, from what I understand, in the final delivery of SAP 2, the masterlist was reduced from 17M na inumpisahan ko sa Bayanihan 1, from 17M families, ngayon 14M na lang. Eh diba umaangal nga ang mga LGUs na andaming hindi nakatanggap kasi ang masterlist ng DSWD hindi tugma sa masterlist ng LGUs? Tapos nabawasan pa.

How do we even begin to do this with those kinds of masterlist? Those are stress points that need to be addressed. Thank you very much, Mr. President and to our resource persons.

The intention is really to point these out to you because you really will bear the burden of rolling this out. Thank you for your work.

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